Mind games for corpocrats
Papri Sri Raman

With CEOs and chairmen of MNCs as students, Lou Tice has quite a task on his hands. To those who want to grow in business, he offers lessons on “how we think”. For more than 35 years, Tice has taken the application of research in cognitive sciences to challenges facing organisations today, including

Fortune 1000 companies, through his Seattle-based Pacific Institute. And to India, Tice brings tips for PSUs, governments and fledgling MNCs with two new institutes that were opened in Delhi and Chennai this month.

“For many, a population of over a billion people like India might seem a daunting proposition but we are in the business of unleashing the human potential,” he told a packed gathering at the IIT, Madras.

“If you have a protective culture of business, you can do it the old way but if you need to be competitive, you got to do it the new way,” said Tice, chairman of the Pacific Institute. On his first visit to India, the 70-plus Tice has initiated a “perspective lesson” for Indian industry in dialogue with industry bodies like

Assocham, IIT Madras and with corporations like GAIL India Ltd, NTPC, HCL, the TVS Group, AVT McCormick, TCS, IIPA and several dozen other Indian business houses.

“Growing has to be through change, you must be able to visualise for every employee, every worker, why you want to grow the business, where you want to go.” Tice teaches corporate houses how to manage human resource, how to plan positioning in a competitive world and what good public relations can gain.

Internationally known, he is today a highly respected educator worldwide who believes that excellence is a very achievable and “continuous process that invariably brings results when we learn to control how we think”.

Tice and his wife Diane started The Pacific Institute in 1971 with a simple idea - if you open people’s mind to their own potential and show them how to achieve it, changes in organisational and community effectiveness will follow.

They bucked the conventional thinking of the time and today The Pacific Institute has institutions in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, South Africa and Britain.

His help was sought in the Northern Ireland peace process and in Guatemala in the 1995 peace accord and by South Africa in helping end apartheid.

His Pacific Institute, in collaboration with CGN Associates, a US-based business performance consultant and business model innovator, has this month begun a pilot project to train Indian corporations in initiating what is called a “mind change”.

At least a million people in five continents listen to Tice’s lectures every year. A typical Tice lesson is like: “One of the most important ways we communicate is with language. However, if our language is fuzzy, our communications will be too.

“If you want to communicate effectively, you’ll also want to make your language as effective and clear as it can be. One way to do this is to be very careful about using words we call ‘universals’ or ‘absolutes’ - words like ‘always’, ‘never’, ‘all’ and ‘every’.

“Now, universals are fine, when they’re true. If you say, ‘Everyone must die some day’, or ‘All the people in our family have brown eyes’, you’re talking about facts.

“But when you see an old person struggling and you say, ‘Gosh, it’s awful to be old!’ Or you read about a senator who’s convicted for fraud and you say, ‘Politicians are all crooked.’ In both cases, you’ve moved from a specific truth to a general untruth. You’ve generalised from particulars, and in so doing you distort a fact that is true, into an opinion that isn’t.

“So the next time you hear a universal term, ask yourself, ‘Is this a fact or an opinion or a generalisation?’ Listen for the words ‘all’, ‘every’, ‘always’, ‘never’, and ‘none’, and let them serve as red flags for you.” — IANS